Fresh off of signing his contract and officially joining the Memphis Grizzlies, Desmond Bane met with media members over zoom to discuss his fit with the Grit and Grind and why Memphis already has his heart.
While Bane can understand that it might be difficult for your first few moments of an NBA career to have already been traded, he was ecstatic when the Boston Celtics shipped him off to Memphis as part of a trade that got the Grizz into the first round. Going back to April when he first spoke with the team, “I said this is where I want to be. [My agent] didn’t believe we would be on the board when they picked (originally in the second round, 40th overall), but they made a move and I couldn’t be any happier or any more thankful.” Bane was known for his shooting when it came to his national reputation, but TCU fans and those that have followed his career more closely since he stepped foot on campus four years ago know that he is much more than a flashy offensive player. Among those? His new head coach. “He was a guy that rose to the top,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “He fits so many things that we are about here. He’s a playmaker, he’s unselfish, he competes. All the intel that you gather about the leadership qualities — he has maturity.”
That maturity is part of what drew Jenkins and Memphis to Bane, a guy they maneuvered into the first round to get with the 30th overall pick. “He was at the top of our list. We were seeking out a way to make a move.” Pairing Bane with young talents like Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson, Jr, Brandon Clarke, and Justise Winslow — guys right around his age that he can grow up with — seems like the ideal situation for both parties. Desmond recognizes the opportunity, but knows that it will take work to make it work. “You never know until you get into the situation, but from the outside looking in, I couldn't be happier. My strengths go hand in hand with [the young core]; I can’t say it’s a perfect fit just yet, but I really love the potential.” Jenkins agrees. “He’s mature beyond his years, has a competitive mentality, is tough and team oriented. We knew right off the bat, this guy is going to help us win and be a great fit into the culture. He jumped off the page in the interview — he lined up with what we are trying to do.”
It’s that cultural fit that makes Bane so special — sure, he can shoot and play well within Memphis’ system, but it’s as much about what he will do for the city of Memphis as what he will do on the court for the Grizzlies. As Jenkins said, “embrace the city and the city will embrace you”, and Bane has certainly embraced the city in his first week with it being his “second family”, as he said Wednesday afternoon. Wearing a 901 hat, Bane talked about the role that people and community play in his life. What does he want the Memphis fanbase to know about him? “That I care. People are first and foremost in my life.” Desmond talked about being raised by his great-grandparents, and the litany of family members he grew up with and around. “We’re a family first. As soon as I got drafted, Memphis became my second family. I’ll do everything I can to represent Memphis and make an impact in the community.”
“Oh, and I heard the food is good, if we want to talk off the court.”
Though he could have left TCU early for the draft, Bane stayed, “earned a degree, developed great relationships. I’m extremely thankful be drafted in the first round and to go to a team that fits me, that the culture fits me. The chips fell how they did, I’m thankful and blessed.”